By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Flannel boards enable children to engage in imaginative play while also developing fine motor skills. With a little time and a few inexpensive materials, you can make your own flannel board at home. You can also make your own felt story sets or purchase pre-made sets. Either way, this is a great way to give your child hours of learning and enjoyment.
A flannel board is simply a board covered with flannel or felt, and is used by placing shapes, symbols, and story character cutouts on it. After making a board, you will likely find it useful in many various ways. A flannel board offers a nice alternative way to share stories with children; it can be used to help them count, add, and subtract; and, also, it is helpful when explaining other skills, such as letter, shape, and color recognition.
Flannel boards and felt stories allows hands-on learning and interaction as the children place or move items on the board. The simple flannel board is also very versatile. A teacher can be creative with limited artistic ability. The flannel board provides a tactile method to strengthen or develop a student's reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary and so much more. You can use your own personality and creativity to enhance the school curriculum.
Children love stories told with flannel board characters as visual accompaniment. They can use the figures and retell the story on their own. Flannel-graph stories hold attention fairly well if carefully prepared and executed. They are particularly helpful when story sequence, movement and relationships are important in the story. Stand up visuals like stick puppets can be also be used.
There are a number of companies that make felt sets to go with flannel boards, which are excellent for when your child is older and wants to use the board to create stories and scenes.
Here are some of them:
- The Felt Source: It has a comprehensive range of educational felt boards and felt sets.
- Fun Felt: They offer unique educational felt products from Independent Story Teller Distributors that are washable, super thick, durable, and come with thematic lessons, audio tapes, and teaching references. They also offer free sample on request.
- HomespunKids: Offers educational and religious flannel board products for children.
- Preschool Education Felt Boards: Interesting ideas for creating flannel board and felt stories for preschoolers.
- Kaplan Early Learning Company: Has a range of flannel boards and related accessories for sale.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.